After her philandering husband died and left her penniless in Prohibition-era New York, Lola Woodby escaped with her Swedish cook to the only place she could—her deceased husband’s secret love nest in the middle of Manhattan. Her only comforts were chocolate cake, dime store detective novels, and the occasional highball (okay, maybe not so occasional). But rent came due and Lola and Berta were forced to accept the first job that came their way, ultimately leading them to set up shop as a Discreet Retrieval Agency, operating out of Alfie’s cramped love nest.
Now they’re in danger of losing the business they’ve barely gotten off the ground—they haven’t had a job in months and money is running out. So when a society matron offers them a job, they take it—even if it means sneaking into a detox facility and consuming only water and health food until they can steal a diary from Grace Whiddle, a resident at the “health farm.” But barely a day in, Grace and her diary escape from the facility—and Grace’s future mother-in-law is found murdered on the premises. Lola and Berta are promptly fired. But before they can climb into Lola’s red and white Duesenberg Model A and whiz off the property, they find themselves with a new client and a new charge: to solve the murder of Grace’s future mother-in-law.
Series: Discreet Retrieval Agency #2| Publisher: Minotaur Books| Genre: Historical Cozy Mystery | Source: MLM Media | Rating: 4 Cups
I do love a good cozy so when this was offered, I jumped at the chance to review it and I’m so glad that I did.
Here’s what’s going on. Lola and her former-cook-turned-detective-partner Berta are in need of a case to stay afloat after Lola’s husband death left her penniless and now find themselves checking into a health farm in hopes of discreetly retrieving Grace Whiddle’s journal. Although before they can retrieve the journal, Grace goes missing and her soon-to-be mother-in-law is murdered. Now Lola and Berta find themselves with a murder case to crack.
I missed book one, Come Hell or Highball, and while I was able to follow along with book, I wished I would have read the first book just to clear up some of the questions I had such as what happened between Lola and her brother-in-law and what caused the rift between her family.
The characters in this book were such fun. Lola truly embodies that roaring twenties feel and sort of reminds of an Americanized Miss Fisher. At times, she seems a bit ditzy or more focused on trivial things but she’s still likable. Berta was the more sensible of the two. She’s highly focused and sort of keeps Lola on track.
There’s a bit of a romance going on between Lola and Ralph Oliver. He’s a fellow detective so it adds a bit of competition and humor into the mix.
So, while the mystery—or rather, mysteries—were a little slow, I still found myself riveted to the page as the mysteries slowly unwound and.
Overall, I really enjoyed this cozy. It’s set in the roaring twenties so it was a bit different and I really enjoyed the fresh take on things.
The Discreet Retrieval Agency Series
1—Come Hell or Highball